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Online Black Friday sales struggle to match last year’s lockdown high

01 Dec 2021

LONDON UK – 30 November 2021: With no lockdown yet enacted this autumn, online retail sales for Black Friday were down -14.3% Year-on-Year (YoY). That is according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers.

While this was slightly lower than the anticipated -10% drop, last year’s YoY results (+30%) made for a tough comparison, as the nation was once against told to stay at home and consumers had no choice but to shop online. Perhaps in anticipation of this, many retailers began their discounts far earlier this November – from a sample of 317, there were 25 live on Wednesday 3 November, up from 9 on the same day in 2020 – however a deeper dive showed that the number of retailers with live Black Friday campaigns fell to 196 on Wednesday 24 November this year, while the same day in 2020 had 220 live. On Black Friday the number rose and was in line with last year again.

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director, IMRG: “In 2020, the lockdown in November accelerated the trend for retailers launching their campaigns earlier in the month. In 2021 it went earlier again though participation did seem to run out of steam a bit toward the actual big day. It’s early days in analysing what just happened, but it does seem logical that earlier discounting will pull share away from the peak week, meaning the stretching out of Black Friday into a month-long event looks like it is being achieved.”

Lucy Gibbs, managing consultant – Retail Insight, Capgemini: “Online sales were expectedly lower than last year’s lockdown boosted figures as consumers returned to the high street. However, search trends have also been lower this year for terms related to Black Friday and conversion rates did not pick up as strongly. As we dive deeper into the performance this month we should be able to understand if this was predominantly due to a return to the in-person experience, or whether other factors such as longer lower discounts and continued supply chain disruptions have played a part.”



The IMRG Capgemini Sales Index was adjusted in August 2020 to reflect updated historic figures from our retail panel. Previously reported results have been recalibrated to provide a more accurate view of the market index.

About the ‘IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index’

The IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which was started in April 2000, tracks ‘online sales’, which we define as ‘transactions completed fully, including payment, via interactive channels’ from any location, including in-store.

*Please note from January 2020 the Index no longer includes data from the travel sector

About IMRG

For over 20 years, IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) has been the voice of e-retail in the UK. We are a membership community comprising businesses of all sizes – multichannel and pureplay, SME and multinational, and solution providers to industry. We support our members through a range of activities – including market tracking and insight, benchmarking and best practice sharing. Our indexes provide in-depth intelligence on online sales, mobile sales, delivery trends and over 40 additional KPIs. Our goal is to ensure our members have the information and resources they need to succeed in rapidly-evolving markets – both domestically and internationally.

About Capgemini

Capgemini is a global leader in partnering with companies to transform and manage their business by harnessing the power of technology. The Group is guided everyday by its purpose of unleashing human energy through technology for an inclusive and sustainable future. It is a responsible and diverse organisation of over 300,000 team members in nearly 50 countries. With its strong 50 year heritage and deep industry expertise, Capgemini is trusted by its clients to address the entire breadth of their business needs, from strategy and design to operations, fuelled by the fast evolving and innovative world of cloud, data, AI, connectivity, software, digital engineering and platforms. The Group reported in 2020 global revenues of €16 billion.

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